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Kemba-less Hornets routed north of the border

Last night’s game in Toronto was going to be a struggle without Kemba Walker, who was missing his first game of the year due to a shoulder injury, and it appeared his teammates felt that way too. The Hornets came out flat and lifeless to start the game, allowing the Raptors to get any shot they wanted. They gave up 6 offensive rebounds in the first quarter and by halftime had allowed 71 points on 58% shooting. It was a pathetic effort that makes you wonder how much pride this team has without their leader.

They came out in the second half and looked strong defensively, managing to cut the lead to 2 at one point midway through the 3rd quarter, but DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were just too much to overcome as they combined to score 66 points. The Raptors pulled away to close the third quarter and never looked back, defeating the Hornets 126-113.

Positives

Dwight Howard played well and bullied the Raptors inside, dunking on and over the rotation of bigs tasked with stopping him. He finished with 22 points and 10 boards for his fifth double-double in a row. Jeremy Lamb and Frank Kaminsky scored the ball well off the bench, each chipping in 18. That’s about it for the positives.

Negatives

The defense was atrocious. Charlotte was flat-footed and slow to react basically all night. MKG was no match for Derozan. The bench as a unit was about as bad defensively as a group can be. Malik Monk and Jeremy Lamb were beat off the dribble consistently, regularly lost their assignments, and made it easy on the offensive end for the Raps. Michael Carter-Williams proved he is no more than a backup point guard in the NBA, shooting 1-10 with 5 turnovers in the start.

Number to Know

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The how many road wins the Hornets have in 10 games. Not good.

This Hornets team is right on the edge of this season getting away from them. Unless they can turn things around in a hurry, we may start seeing some drastic changes to the roster and coaching staff in Buzz City.

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